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Environmental Management System of Starbucks Coffee

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 2816 words Published: 28th Sep 2017

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  1. Background of the company

“Starbucks Coffee is the number one purveyor of coffee in the world. Starbucks Coffee is an American global coffee company and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington. Moreover, Starbucks Company is the largest coffeehouse company in the world ahead of Costa Coffee, with 20,737 stores worldwide. Howard Schultz, the Chairman and CEO of Starbucks “. With what stated above, Howard is actually trying to make Starbucks a second home in our daily lives. That is why, they are trying to bring ‘family’ into the picture whereby people of all ages can come to Starbucks and enjoy themselves. Starbucks started their first store in 1971 opened in Seattle, Washington. Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker got the idea from Alfred Peet of opening Starbucks coffee store. Starbucks is now introducing a healthier option of food and drinks for children. Therefore, working parents can now enjoy their cup of coffee while doing their work without worrying about what food and drinks their children can consume. Furthermore, with a family concept it too can build a closer relationship between families.

  1. Introduction to the services / products of the company

Starbucks is very particular about meeting all their customers’ needs. The environment of their outlet is well equipped from friendly staff, a comfy place to relax to enjoy a good cup of coffee with your loved ones and not to mention good Wi-Fi. Thus, working parents can come to Starbucks and do their work without feeling stressed out. All in all, Starbucks is the perfect place for families to dine in. In addition, Starbucks serve both hot and cold beverages, whole-bean coffee, micro-ground instant coffee, full-leaf teas and also snacks. Most Starbucks stores also sell pre-packaged food items, hot and cold sandwiches, and items such as mugs and tumblers. Since 1987, Starbucks had opened an average of two new stores every day and had been profitable as local company in early 1980s. In addition the store initially sold just coffee beans and coffee making equipment rather than the drinks they had become famous nowadays. Starbucks is also famous for having good services and serve good quality of coffee. Moreover, Starbucks also introduced the new drive-thru concept stores with consistency in kind so that customers have the option to enjoy their favorite coffee on the go, or at the store should they prefer to stretch their legs and relax.

  1. Identification of the potential environmental impacts that maybe caused by the services / products of the company. (10marks)

Overall, Starbucks Coffee is recognized by many environmental associations for their endless contribution as a “Green” company. Throughout the process of growing, processing and transporting the coffee beans, Starbucks Coffee has been in support of environmentally-sound coffee growing practices and to ensure the sustainability of its product supply. Starbucks Coffee strives to reduce their environmental impact through some initiatives targeting issues like recycle, reuse, waste reduction as well as education partners and consumers.

However, there are some negative environmental impacts that are caused by the services and products of Starbucks Coffee. Firstly, based on the Starbucks 2007 CSR Annual Report, each Starbucks Coffee store uses 6.78kW/h of electricity, 0.058 thermos of natural gas, and 25 gallons of water, on average, per square foot per month (Saed, 2009). The most serious environmental impact is water wastage. Recently, Starbucks Coffee is criticized by environmental experts for wasting 23.4 million liters of water per day caused by running taps at its nearly 10,000 outlets worldwide (Saed, 2009). The wastage of water is a threat to the environment and wildlife as the tap water is sourced from rivers and underground water.

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Since coffees are brewed and served to customers in packaging like paper cups, undoubtedly another inevitable wastage of Starbucks Coffee is its coffee cups. It is estimated that the company produces more than 2 billion paper cups per year (Mother Nature Network Holding Company, 2010). Since Starbucks Coffee uses disposable paper cups made of 10% recycled paper fiber and 90% new paper, enormous quantity of natural resources like trees, water and energy are required for the processing of the paper cups. In addition to that, the company’s paper cups are laminated with plastic resin lining, thus are unable to be recycled. After consuming their coffees, the paper cups are highly likely to end up in a landfill in which decomposing of the paper cups occurs. This will result in the release of methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide (Saed, 2009). Emission of this greenhouse gas causes greenhouse effect which will lead to global warming. Although Starbucks Coffee is encouraging customers to bring in their own reusable cups and enjoy a 10% discount by doing so, more initiative is needed to motivate customers to be more environmental-friendly.

  1. The company’s environmental management system.

There are five environmental management system that have been implement by Starbuck Company are building greener stores, recycling & reducing waste, Starbucks recycling infrastructure, reducing waste with reusable Cups and water conservation.

First Starbuck build greener stores. Starbuck is a store that having LEED® Certified Stores. They have created environmental awareness on a global scale since from the design stage right through to construction and operations. Besides that, Starbuck also pay attention in energy conservation & renewable energy, they have pay attention and committed to reducing the quantity of using energy and also supporting new, renewable solutions and prefer to use the energy in the green way.

Second, recycling and reducing waste. Starbuck company said that they have 39% of their retail stores in USA AND Canada were able to offer front of store recycling and 71% of coffee were able to recycle and be a fertilizer. Starbuck also working with Paper Recovery Alliance to increase acceptance of their materials while customize their recycling program to accommodate varying regional requirements as much as possible. Besides that, in 2013 Starbuck have 80%(more than 3,200) of their stores in USA and Canada have recycled cardboard boxes and other back-of-store items. Starbuck Company also encourage their customers to find out if their packaging is recyclable in their neighbourhoods at Earth 911.

Third, Starbuck recycling infrastructure. Starbuck Company proves that the cups that they are using can be accepted as a valuable raw material in a variety of recycling systems. Starbuck also working and collaboration as a member of the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Paper Recovery Alliance and the Plastics Recovery Group to find and bring up solutions to scale and address common challenges.

Fourth, reducing waste with reusable cups. Reusable cups are an important component for Starbuck Company in the waste reduction strategy. Since 1985 Starbuck rewarded customer with 5% discounts that bring their personal tumblers and 5% of the beverages made in their stores in tumblers and brought in by their customers. I felt that this is the effective way to encourage people to involve in recycling.   


Lastly, water conservation. In 2008, Starbuck Company has set a goal to reduce water consumption by 25% in 2015. Since then, they have identified a number of opportunities to use this precious resource more wisely and spent the last few years testing and validating these solutions. They have cut water consumption by 21.1% through several measures, including the use of efficient fixtures and equipment that actively monitors consumption to identify spikes in water usage and taking action and upgrading the water filtration systems in their stores to take care and protect about the cleanness of river and streams.

Starbuck Company have also dominate water extends to water consumption, protection and serving clean water in coffee-growing communities. Through C.A.F.E. Practices and the resources, Agronomists of Starbuck Company have provide coffee farmers at their six farmer support centers around the world, Starbuck Company help increase their yield and quality, while still reducing the water usage for coffee processing and ensuring workers have access clean drinking water to provide customers a good and clean coffee.

What are Starbuck doing now are managing water that can be seen “going down the drain” provides one set of challenges, but much of their water footprint happens behind the scenes. Leaks can develop below floors, outside in sprinkler systems, even in toilets.

To combat these invisible enemy, Starbucks Energy and Resource Conservation team uses advanced analytics to identify stores that are using excessive amounts of water. Facilities experts will visit the stores that are using excessive amounts of water to diagnose and rectify aberrant. This practice has relief in excessive water use.

  1. The company objectives whether it complies with SMART approach in EMS.

The Starbucks Company has complied with SMART approach in EMS. The company has specific target to address, measurable target with showing percentage, achievable target, realistic with showing how they achieve the target, and time-bound.

The Starbucks Company is searching the ways to reduce environmental footprint, tackle climate change and stimulate others to do the same. The company have specific target to achieve their objectives such as reducing and recycling waste, energy conservation, water conservation, and building greener stores.

For the specific target of reducing and recycling waste, the Starbucks Company has a measurable plan that to have recycling available in all of their stores and serve 5% of beverages in reusable cups by 2015. The target is achievable and realistic because the Starbucks Company offered a 10-cent discount for customer in order to encourage customers to use reusable tumblers or mugs for their beverage in the US and Canada. Furthermore, the customers who drink hot beverage in store are served with ceramic mugs. Besides, cardboard boxes, milk jugs, syrup bottles, and coffee grounds which can be found behind the counter are sent to recycling services but recycling success depends on the obtainability of commercial recycling services where the store is located.

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Another specific target is energy conservation, time-bound is year 2015, the Starbucks Company has measurable target that commit to reduce 25% of energy consumption and to cover 100% electricity consumption with renewable energy. The target is achievable and realistic because the company has made substantial progress in developing and understanding new approaches to reduce energy consumption in the last few years and continue to find additional renewable solutions.

Furthermore, the specific target of water conservation, the Starbucks Company commit to reduce 25% water usage in all their stores by 2015. The target is achievable and realistic because the company has changed continuous streams of water to manual faucets, and clean blender jugs using a blast of higher pressure water instead of open tap. Besides, the company also plans to install efficient water fixtures, such as toilets, spray heads used to rinse dishes, and low-flow faucets in new stores.

  1. Alternative ways to improve environmental performance of the company beside the approach stated in company policy.

Recycling and reducing waste

About the cup being used, there are many ways to reduce the cup waste through encourage customer to use ceramic mug. Offer discount for using ceramic mug and their own cup instead of only their Starbuck brand cup. When staff giving order, may ask customer for using ceramic mug if they are having their coffee in the shop. Use ceramic mug also for customers when request for water, reduce the use of paper and plastic cup possible. In addition, customer environmental awareness is important too, not provide paper tissue in self-counter which customer use extravagance, is only provided one to two tissue for them when purchasing one drink.

Energy conservation

Energy play an important role in a coffee shop, from roasting coffee to the whole shop, it use energy. However to reduce the use of energy is difficulty, even the LED lighting was installed, but it just reduce not much percent. There is a way to reduce one of the use of energy which is HVAC system: heating, ventilation, cooling. It could consider landscaping the outdoor environment, put some comfortable furniture at outdoor, have a cover and more plant to make it a cool place and good ventilation. If customer prefer have drink at outside rather than indoor, thus it could save more facilities provided.

Water conservation

Water is everything for the Starbuck’s business, from the making beverages until the cleaning job, all about the water. A small wisdom of life for cleaning, we can use the water in a useful way which use more than one. For example, use the water to flush toilet after wash the vegetables and fruits, and after mop the indoor would use the water to flush the outdoor. Moreover, there are many save water technique offer in the market. In the market, there is a save water toilet which only flush 1.5 liter water once instead of normal 3 liter water, it save 50% of water in normal toilet use. In order to save water, sensory faucet would also consider to use for customer and staff, it will come out right amount water for wash hand.

Tackling climate change

Currently Starbucks’s coffee-growing communities in Sumatra, Indonesia, and Chiapas, Mexico, however there are many Starbucks store in different countries. In other means, there is a high cost for transfer the coffee bean to each country which only from certain coffee-growing communities, it also consume a lot of fuel. Fuel is precious naturals mineral, one day there will be exhausted. There is a way to reduce the use of fuel which is develop more coffee-growing communities in different countries so that coffee bean can get in local and not transfer from other place, it also benefit to reduce cost of the beverage.


  1. Mother Nature Network Holding Company (2010). Starbucks and the Environment. Retrieved on November 22, 2014 from: http://www.mnn.com/money/sustainable-business-practices/stories/starbucks-and-the-environment
  2. Saed, T. (2009). The Impact of One Cup of Starbucks Coffee. Retrieved on November 22, 2014 from: http://globalcitizens.pbworks.com/w/page/9036435/The%20Impact%20of%20One%20Cup%20of%20Starbucks%20Coffee
  3. Taylor,B. Kelly,J. (2013)Global Responsibility Report Goals & Progress 2013. Retrieved from http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report.
  4. Starbucks Corporation. (2014). Environmental Stewardship. Retrieved from



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